No inoculations are compulsory for holidays in The Gambia, but it is recommended that prospective travellers, tourists & holiday makers take medical advice at least three weeks before departing for the country.
Travel insurance is recommended. Ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including repatriation.
Food poisoning or Banjul Belly is a risk in The Gambia and travellers are advised to make sure their food and water are safe; drink only bottled water, ensure meat and vegetables are well cooked and avoid unpeeled fruit and vegetables.
Holiday Health Services & Clinics to The Gambia
The Gambian Government provides both therapeutic and preventative medical and health services and plays a dominant role in health services. There are private health clinics and many pharmacies can advise and treat minor cases
Recommended vaccinations include Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Meningitis A, Hepatitis A and Polio. Anti-malarial medication is generally advised. You must discuss your own particular needs for vaccines or tablets with your doctor or practice nurse. Advice can change so check again for future visits.
Malaria precautions are essential in all areas, all year round. Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets. Mefloquine OR doxycycline OR Malarone is usually recommende. Prompt investigation of fever is essential. If travelling to remote areas, a course of emergency ‘stand by’ treatment should be carried.
Tetanus is contracted through dirty cuts and scratches and poliomyelitis spread through contaminated food and water. They are serious infections of the nervous system.
Typhoid and Hepatitis A are spread through contaminated food and water. Typhoid causes septicaemia and hepatitis A causes liver inflammation and jaundice. In risk areas you should be immunised if good hygiene is impossible.
Tuberculosis is most commonly transmitted via droplet infection. Those going to countries where it is common, especially those mixing closely with the local population and those at occupational risk, e.g. health care workers, should ensure that they have previously been immunised. Check with your doctor or nurse.
Meningococcal Meningitis and Diphtheria are also spread by droplet infection through close personal contact. Vaccination is advised if close contact with locals in risk areas is likely.
Yellow Fever is spread by mosquito bites. It is uncommon in tourist areas but can cause serious, often fatal illness so most people visiting risk areas are immunised.
Hepatitis B is spread through infected blood, contaminated needles and sexual intercourse, It affects the liver, causes jaundice and occasionally liver failure. Those visiting high risk areas for long periods or at social or occupational risk should be immunised.
Rabies is spread through bites or licks on broken skin from an infected animal. It can be fatal. Vaccination is advised for those going to risk areas that will be remote from a reliable source of vaccine. Even when pre-exposure vaccines have been received urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal bite.